The Homers Were More Fun: NL Loses, Phils Phlop in 2013 All-Star Game

The Homers Were More Fun: NL Loses, Phils Phlop in 2013 All-Star Game

Three hits, one walk, zero runs. That was what the NL's collection of offensive talent was able to put up against a wrecking crew of AL pitchers in the All-Star Game tonight, a feeble performance that at least prevented the game from stretching on past midnight. The AL didn't provide a ton of offensive fireworks either, but managed a more respectable three runs on nine hits, which was enough to get the ball to Mariano Rivera in the eighth inning to close it out. (Actually, there are nine innings in a baseball game, so Joe Nathan was awkwardly brought in to double-close it out after, but Mo won the MVP anyway because SENTIMENT.)

The Phillies did not exactly represent to the fullest in this one. Cliff Lee pitched one inning of work, giving up a quick two hits and then allowing a Jose Bautista sac fly to score the AL's second run of the game. The earned run wasn't really all on him, as the second hit came on a grounder to short that the normally sure-handed Troy Tulowitzki butchered, and at least he induced a couple easy grounders to get out of the inning shortly thereafter, but when you only get one inning of work, any amount of run-sacrificing is tough to swallow.

Lee's performance was a better showing than Dom Brown's, at least. As a result of the NL lineup's disturbingly efficient outmaking, Dom played nearly half the game but only came to bat once. In that at bat: Three pitches, three strikes (two called, last swinging) and one out. If Dom was hoping to state his case for why he shouldn't have been left off the Home Run Derby roster, there would have been more convincing ways to do it, though we're hoping he'll have plenty of chances to come for both his Derby debut and his All-Star redemption before his stay in Philadelphia wraps.

Really, this was a pretty boring baseball game. The most entertaining parts of the night came outside of the game, as when an idiot Yankees fan dared Twitter to dare him to rush the field (then got smacked down by security after doing so), or when Neil Diamond took the field in the mid-eighth for an even-more-embarrassing-than-usual "Sweet Caroline" sing-along. Rivera's final All-Star Game obviously dominated the conversation, though AL coach Jim Leyland's controversial decision to use him in the eighth instead of the ninth (presumably due to fear the AL would take the lead and Mo would not be able to pitch at all) certainly robbed the moment of a good deal of its poetry. (Tim McCarver also said his fond farewell to ASG broadcasting, though it's hard to imagine many baseball fans were getting terribly choked up at that.)

Whatever. No real consequence here except that AL gets home-field at the World Series this year, and let's just say that the Phils will cross that exceedingly unlikely bridge when they come to it. Phils season starts again on Friday, and hopefully Dom will get a couple opportunities to put bat to ball again before season's end. See you back at Citi Field then.

Nigel Bradham expects name to be cleared, apologizes for distraction

Nigel Bradham expects name to be cleared, apologizes for distraction

Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham, who was recently arrested for his involvement in an assault of a Miami hotel worker, was back on the practice field for the team's first full-squad practice Thursday afternoon.

The 26-year-old declined to give his side of the story, citing the ongoing police investigation, but said several times that he “most definitely” expects his name to be cleared.

“I can’t really speak on that part because it’s ongoing,” Bradham said when asked if he made a mistake, “but I am confident my name will be cleared.”

The alleged assault on the Miami beach reportedly stemmed from the length of time it took 50-year-old hotel worker Jean Courtois to bring Bradham’s group of six an umbrella for which they had already paid.

The arrest report obtained by NBC claims Bradham punched Courtois without being provoked. Several reports, meanwhile, have claimed Courtois provoked the attack by hitting Bradham’s girlfriend. Courtois told NJ.com the attack was unprovoked

Bradham disagreed on Thursday: “How many times you’ve heard my name, going around doing something to somebody? That makes no sense.”

Bradham also declined to say whether or not he’ll be filing counter-charges against Courtois.

On Tuesday night, the day before reporting to his first training camp with the Eagles, Bradham had a conversation with head coach Doug Pederson. Pederson said the conversation was “great” and said he didn’t foresee a scenario where Bradham will be cut from the team because of this. Bradham, on Thursday, admitted he was and is worried about discipline that might stem from the incident.

“I just pretty much told [Pederson] what happened,” Bradham said. “Like I said, I can’t really put it out in the public yet because it’s still an ongoing investigation. But we had a heart-to-heart conversation about everything and we’re pretty much on the same page about what things I need to do. And I also apologized for being a distraction to the team and everything like that.”

Bradham said this is the first time he has ever been arrested – he was charged with marijuana possession in 2013. While he continually declined to disclose the specifics of this incident, he did express remorse that anything like this happened at all.

“Most definitely,” Bradham said. “You don’t want that to be part of your legacy at any time throughout your career and it’s my first year here. I just started and I definitely didn’t want to start out with that being in the news and everything.”

The Eagles signed Bradham to a two-year, $7 million ($4.5M guaranteed) deal this offseason and plugged him in as the team’s starting strongside linebacker. It was a natural fit because he had his best season playing under Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz in 2014.

Now, before he has even played a game for the Eagles, his name has been at least somewhat tarnished.

“Your first impression is everything, especially to the fans,” he said. “It’s just unfortunate for me that I didn’t get the chance to play, at least let them see me play before they get an opinion about me.”

Tonight's lineup: Aaron Altherr bats 5th for Phillies in season debut

Tonight's lineup: Aaron Altherr bats 5th for Phillies in season debut

Aaron Altherr, activated by the Phillies Thursday afternoon, bats fifth and plays right field in his season debut in Atlanta. 

Sometimes one hitter can make a lineup look much different. Altherr's presence in the middle of the Phillies order provides them with three power hitters, something they've seldom had this season. He provides some protection out of the five-hole for Tommy Joseph and Maikel Franco, who precede him.

Cesar Hernandez remains in the leadoff spot for the Phillies after going 3 for 4 with a walk Wednesday to raise his batting average to .290. 

Cody Asche may soon lose playing time as the Phils' outfield picture gets more crowded, but for now his lineup spot appears safe. With Peter Bourjos on the DL, Asche gets the start in left field and bats eighth.

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Odubel Herrera, CF
3. Maikel Franco, 3B
4. Tommy Joseph, 1B
5. Aaron Altherr, RF
6. Carlos Ruiz, C
7. Freddy Galvis, SS
8. Cody Asche, LF
9. Aaron Nola, P

Phillies reinstate Aaron Altherr, place Peter Bourjos on 15-day DL

Phillies reinstate Aaron Altherr, place Peter Bourjos on 15-day DL

The player who was projected to be the Phillies' opening day rightfielder and No. 5 hitter is finally ready to play. The Phils on Thursday reinstated outfielder Aaron Altherr from the disabled list after he missed the season's first 103 games with a wrist injury.

Altherr takes the 25-man roster spot of Peter Bourjos, who was placed on the 15-day DL with a right shoulder sprain.

Altherr, 25, impressed with power late last season, hitting .241/.338/.489 for the Phillies with 11 doubles, four triples, five home runs and 22 RBIs in 161 plate appearances. 

He tore a tendon sheath in his wrist on a diving catch attempt early in spring training, had surgery and missed about four months in total. The Phils were patient with Altherr during his rehab assignment, giving him the full 20 days before making the decision to add him to the active roster. In 13 games at four different levels during the rehab stint, Altherr went 14 for 41 (.341) with two doubles, a homer and seven walks.

Bourjos injured his shoulder running into the wall at Marlins Park earlier this week. The injury will keep him from being traded ahead of the Aug. 1 non-waiver deadline, but Bourjos could be moved in August. He hit .410 in June but was slumping before the injury, hitting .148 over his last 14 games.